A question about a recipe: Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough

I have a question about step 5 on the recipe "Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough" from Genius Recipes. It says:

"Switch the oven to broil for 10 minutes. With the dough on the peel, spoon the tomato sauce over the surface and spread it evenly, leaving about an inch of the rim untouched. Distribute 10 to 12 hunks of mozzarella (about 7 ounces) on top."

Our oven has the broiler at the bottom. What's the best workaround, aside from replacing the stove?

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20 Comments

Sandra January 19, 2019
I too struggled with the baking because in my rental I have the stupid broiler-drawer which is very small and shallow. I cannot get the pizza 8” below the broiling element which is what seems to be the clearance needed. I baked it at 450 (any higher and the smoke alarm goes off whether or not there is actually smoke) in the oven but the bottom of the dough didn’t crisp and the cheese browned well before the dough actually cooked. I second one of the other comments about how all baking sites assume one has an in-oven upper broiler and never give instructions for this other common type, typical of what’s found in rental apartments because they are much cheaper.
 
Smaug January 20, 2019
I've had to relearn pizza baking every time I've changed ovens. As I recall, last time I had a bottom-broiler oven what worked best was putting the pizza (in a pizza pan) directly on the oven floor. I don't think the dough recipe makes much difference.
 
Kitley May 25, 2012
If you don't have a pizza peel, use this trick with parchment paper. Press/shape your pizza into a round, directly on the parchment paper. Pull the stone out of the oven and place it on stoveop just long enough to lift the parchment paper (with the dressed pizza on it) onto the stone. Cook the pizza long enough for the dough to crisp up and loosen from the parchment paper. Then simply pull/whip out the parchment paper from under the pizza and finish baking. Works like a charm!!!
 
Benny May 25, 2012
I"m totally trying that in my oven.... although, in the summer, my pizzas are typically done on the grill.
 
adashofbitters February 4, 2012
Thanks for the links, Mrs. Very helpful!
 
mrslarkin February 4, 2012
The Heston Bluementhal pizza videos are pretty cool. Looks like he cooks his pizza under the broiler with the door completely open, and the handle of his pan sticking out. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uOng2plzZA

On ovens that have a lower broiler drawer, can you cook stuff with the door open?
 
mrslarkin February 4, 2012
here's a good Pizza Lab article

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/02/which-oven-rack-should-i-put-my-pizza-stone-on.html

Mike, if you do try the two stones, keep us posted.
 
ellenl February 3, 2012
kenji lopez-alt has many entries re: pizza on serious eats. All/some of these may be of interest to you.
 
adashofbitters February 3, 2012
Thank you all. Perhaps I should be clear. I have made dozens of pizzas in an oven on very high heat using a pizza stone. I have even posted pizza recipes on Food52.

What I want to ask is this: what does the broiler-above method provide to a pizza that I can't get if I place the pizza stone at the bottom? Does the cheese brown more evenly or more crisply? Does the top-down method better cook or crisp up the other toppings? What's the advantage?

And, if I may vent for a bit, Lahey's is not the first pizza recipe I've seen that assumes a top-of-the-oven broiler. We rent; we can't replace our oven. Any recipe that doesn't provide for alternatives is less than helpful.

I will try Mrs. Larkin's suggestion, of a another pizza stone atop. That's a great idea, thanks!
 
Sam1148 February 4, 2012
If your oven doesn't get up above 500 or so.

You preheat the oven to 500 for about 45mins..THEN turning on the (in the oven) broiler element for about 10-15 mins, it Superheats the surface of the stone---above 500 with it's radiant heat.

This would be very difficult to replicate if your oven has a bottom drawer type broiler. As you'd have to remove the stone and transfer to the broiler.

If your oven works well with successful pizza and stone...you should be fine and won't too much about that step. Unless you want to do a final broil on another stone, just to super heat the top; not really needed IMHO.
 
Kristen M. February 4, 2012
adashofbitters -- I'm curious, do Lahey's instructions for the bottom drawer broiler sound like they could work for you? i.e. is there enough space in the broiler drawer to fit the stone (and a pizza), and are there low and high settings? I think the method behind his madness here is that it most closely approximates a super hot coal or wood-burning pizza oven if you can preheat the surface of the pizza stone under the broiler, and get the direct heat of the broiler from above. Just baking on a hot stone at 500 worked fine for me too, but I didn't get the same char on the crust and browned bubbles on the cheese, without involving the broiler. The longer it takes to get to a nicely browned crust, the more likely it is that the crust will dry out and go hard on you too -- the broiler helps speed it up so the crust stays moist and chewy inside.
 
Kristen M. February 3, 2012
Here's what Lahey says: Start with the stone in the broiler at the lowest level or on the floor of the oven. Preheat on low for about 20 minutes, and then switch to high for another 5 minutes. Slide in the pizza, close the drawer, and broil as instructed by the recipe, until bubbling and properly charred -- checking to be sure it's not burning.
 
mrslarkin February 4, 2012
Just confirming, what you just described is for ovens with a broiler-drawer-on-the-bottom, right?





 
Kristen M. February 4, 2012
Yep, that's the idea.
 
AntoniaJames February 3, 2012
Add your answer here
 
AntoniaJames February 3, 2012
Add your answer here
 
mrslarkin February 3, 2012
Is it the kind of broiler where you stick stuff in the way bottom, in a different compartment?

I think as long as you can preheat the oven to as high as you can get it (mine goes to 550) you can get good results in a regular oven. Also, a baker friend of mine once told me this: to imitate the top broiler heat, get a second pizza stone and put it on the top shelf, that way the heat from the top stone will shoot down onto whatever you're baking.

I use parchment paper for my pizzas. Turns black but doesn't catch fire, and slides right in and out of oven with peel and nimble asbestos fingers and/or tongs.

Good luck!
 
adashofbitters February 4, 2012
Yes, it's the drawer-broiler type. I've been using parchment for pizzas too and love that technique.
 
AntoniaJames February 3, 2012
You should be able to use your broiler. You may be somewhat limited in the size of pizza that you can bake, and you may need to use small quarry tiles or whatever size rectangular stone will fit. I'd be inclined, as well, to preheat the stone in the oven, then move it down to the broiler right before baking the pizza. As for using a peel, etc. you may need to use a small cookie sheet that has one open side. I have a peel, and my broiler is in the top of my electric oven, but I find the cookie sheet more convenient or handling the in/out process, so I use it instead. ;o)
 
Sam1148 February 4, 2012
I would like a "Superpeel" as when I over decorate a pizza...my pizza peel skills always tend to shake off topping, or deform the pizza.
I don't have one...but others seem to love it. It's a traditional pizza peel with a slot and canvas that you pull back to deposit the goods with minimal shaking.
Video link.
http://www.superpeel.com/videos.html
 
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